Staying Cool

Freedom's shower

Freedom enjoys cooling off under the hose. Willow won’t let me spray her.

We’ve had some hot, steamy weather here. Freedom stays cool by refusing to come out of the barn. He lives in a bank barn and it’s always cooler there. This is the time of year when I go through shavings by the bag full! He does enjoy getting hosed off, but even then will only stand outside for a few minutes. I suspect that he and Willow come out at night when the temperatures have been more manageable.

puddle

My dog, Woolly, has taken to lying down in the puddles while I ride.

My dog has discovered the joys of puddles. I often find him lying down in one (if it’s available) while he watches me do barn chores or ride in the field.

 

And I’ve seen several deer in the cool shade of the trees. This one didn’t even blink when I rode up to her. She lay there for the twenty minutes or so that I rode in the

Shady Deer

This doe watched me ride from the comfort of the shade.

field. I don’t know if she thought I couldn’t see her, or if she is so used the horses that she didn’t care.

Yesterday I spooked a doe and a very young fawn when I was riding home. The fawn bolted into the field with Willow and Freedom. It was tiny and spotted — only a few days old at most. The horses looked bemused and then it scampered off into the woods.

Zelda rolling

Zelda really enjoys her roll after she works!

About ten minutes later, while Zelda was luxuriating in her after-ride roll, I saw the doe come into the meadow, sniffing the ground and obviously looking for her baby. I panicked for a moment hoping that I hadn’t scared it too far off, but suddenly it burst from the woods all happy and excited to see its mother again.

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Aromatherapy for horses

aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can be beneficial to your horse. Watch your horse’s nostrils when you offer him a scent.

My daughter and I make our own natural skin care and hair care products — we started because she didn’t want to keep putting chemicals on her skin. We started buying products at Lush, but the high prices made going natural painful (and the products didn’t always work so well for us) so I found a few recipes that work well for us. Our favorite home product is a Shea butter hair conditioner. It works better than any we’ve ever bought and it very simple to use (if you’re interested, I found the recipe here).

I had made a batch for my farrier, who came today, and scented it with Jasmine and Sweet Orange essential oils. When I gave it to her, I took the top off of it so she could smell the scent and discovered that Freedom loved it! First he sniffed it with each nostril, then, when I’d put some on my hand, he started to lick it (luckily it’s made from all natural products!).

I’ve read about using essential oils with horses —  some people use them as part of massage therapy, some report that horses find certain scents to be calming, or they use them to treat skin irritations or wounds. I didn’t expect Freedom to have such a strong, positive reaction to the scents that I’d used and it makes me wonder if it would work in a base of jojoba or almond oil as a massage aid.

Essential oils that are commonly used with horses include:  chamomile for anxiety; lavender for stress, sore muscles or to relieve nervous tension; jasmine to lift mood and as an anti-spasmodic; orange for uplifting the spirit, calming and easing sore muscles;, peppermint for concentration and as a natural digestive aid; frankincense to stimulate the immune system and treat wounds.

From what I’ve read, not all scents appeal to all horses so it’s best to let a horse show you which essential oils they prefer.

  • Start by putting a couple of drops of the scent on your hand and offering it to your horse. If they are interested they will seek out the scent, nuzzle your hand and may even give a flehman response.
  • Remember that essential oils can be highly concentrated so will smell especially strong to your horse. The blend that Freedom liked so much was part of a hair conditioner, so the oils had been diluted. When applying them directly to your horse’s skin, you should dilute essential oils in a carrier like coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera gel, etc.
  • Use essential oils, not perfume oils as the latter can contain a lot of solvents. I bought my essential oils mostly at Whole Foods so I can sniff them before I buy, but I also order them from Amazon.
  • If the oil is safe to be ingested, and the horse is so inclined, you can let them lick the oil(s) from your hand.
  • You can apply the oil to their forehead — the spot in between their eyes, under their forelock is called Yin Tang and it is an acupuncture calming spot. It can also be helpful to apply to the horse’s crest or at its poll.

When you offer a scent to your horse, watch how he reacts. According to “How to offer essential oils to your horse“:

When offering aromatically watch to see which nostril the horse inhales with first this is a key to your horses emotions. Your horse may move one nostril over the bottle, then the other.

The horse’s right nostril is controlled by the left hand side of the brain – which governs the horses functions, the way it does ‘stuff’.

The left hand nostril is governed by the right hand side of the brain – which is the intuitive, creative side.  Much like in people.

Please keep in mind that while horses and dogs respond well to aromatherapy, some essential oils are toxic to cats.

It’s hot out there!

Freedom gets hosed down

Freedom enjoys getting hosed down — and then he retreats into the barn to stay cool.

I am not complaining. After last winter, I swore that I would not be one of those people who start to moan about the heat and humidity. In February, I was dreaming about being hot again. And in that dream I was happy.

This week we’ve had temperatures in the 80s. It felt like we went straight into summer. Much of it was very, very pleasant. It made me long to spend the day on the beach and I indulged in some afternoons at the pond, catching up with my work in my “summer office” in an Adirondack chair.

For the horses, it’s felt hot. Freedom spends most of the days standing inside the barn, which is cool and bug-free. All winter he stands outside (by choice) while the wind, rain and snow beat down. As soon as it’s hot? He can’t wait to go in. This is the season where I go through shavings by the bagful.

These are the days when I’m glad that the horses can stay out all night. I know they are enjoying those cool evenings hanging out and then sleeping like teenagers late into the mornings.

The kindness of strangers

The Story Behind the Photo: Nearly 25 years ago, Police Officer Frank Pomodoro found himself comforting his partner and police horse, Fritz, who had fallen into a sidewalk construction hole that had been covered over by a steel plate just outside the old District D-4 station which, at the time, was located in the area of Berkeley Street and Warren Ave. Pomodoro was inside the station when someone came running in and told him that his horse had fallen into a hole. When Pomodoro got outside, he immediately feared the worst. A broken leg and he knew that his partner of three years would have to be put down. In fact, according to Pomodoro, the one question he hears more often than any other when people reference the picture of his horse in the hole is whether or not Fritz survived the fall. In response to that question, Pomodoro gratefully offers the following, “He was back to work in three weeks and, luckily, he only suffered a cut to one of his front legs.” The enclosed photo was taken on October 31, 1989 and Frank remembers the day like it was yesterday. “I remember it was Halloween because I had to call my wife and tell her that I wasn’t gonna be home in time to give out the candy,” said Pomodoro. Reflecting back on that day, Pomodoro says a number of things still stick out and have stayed with him to this day. “The compassion of people on that day is one of the things I’ll never forget. It was really amazing. Perfect strangers and even one guy I had locked up came running over to help Fritz.” Pomodoro says the help provided by perfect strangers was especially evident when the Fire Department arrived on scene and secured a rope around Fritz because there was some concern that the horse might slip or slide deeper into the hole. Pomodoro recalls, “The rope fastened around Fritz stretched across the street and I remember there were somewhere between 15 to 20 people grabbing a hold of the rope to make sure Fritz stayed put. The compassion of perfect strangers was unbelievable.” However, the challenge of extricating an almost 1500 pound horse from a hole would require something a whole lot stronger and more substantial than a rope fastened around the horse’s midsection. “We needed a crane,” said Pomodoro. And, as luck would have it, Shaugnessy & Ahearn, a local rigging company, had a crane job going on just around the corner. Said Pomodoro, “We went up the street and told them what was going on and the crane came down and pulled Fritz out.” Pomodoro continues, “My mother was so grateful, she sent a fruit basket to Mr. Shaugnessy, the owner of the company, thanking him for what they did for Fritz.” These days, Pomodoro is a detective assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit. He’s got a few more years to go before he can retire and, although he’s certainly seen the best and the worst of people during his almost 30 year career, Pomodoro says nothing compares to the kindness and compassion he witnessed firsthand nearly 25 years ago. “I met a lot of really great people that day and, to this day, I have nothing but gratitude to those who came over to help Fritzie. I’ll never forget them.”

I came across this photo and story on Facebook — The bond between the police officer and his horse is so clearly shown. It’s amazing how eloquently the horse has expressed its trust in its rider and the comfort it gets from being with someone he trusts.

Here’s the back story to t the photo which was taken on October 31, 1989:

Nearly 25 years ago, Police Officer Frank Pomodoro found himself comforting his partner and police horse, Fritz, who had fallen into a sidewalk construction hole that had been covered over by a steel plate just outside the old District D-4 station which, at the time, was located in the area of Berkeley Street and Warren Ave. Pomodoro was inside the station when someone came running in and told him that his horse had fallen into a hole. When Pomodoro got outside, he immediately feared the worst. A broken leg and he knew that his partner of three years would have to be put down. In fact, according to Pomodoro, the one question he hears more often than any other when people reference the picture of his horse in the hole is whether or not Fritz survived the fall. In response to that question, Pomodoro gratefully offers the following, “He was back to work in three weeks and, luckily, he only suffered a cut to one of his front legs.”

The photo was taken on October 31, 1989 and Frank remembers the day like it was yesterday. “I remember it was Halloween because I had to call my wife and tell her that I wasn’t gonna be home in time to give out the candy,” said Pomodoro. Reflecting back on that day, Pomodoro says a number of things still stick out and have stayed with him to this day. “The compassion of people on that day is one of the things I’ll never forget. It was really amazing. Perfect strangers and even one guy I had locked up came running over to help Fritz.” Pomodoro says the help provided by perfect strangers was especially evident when the Fire Department arrived on scene and secured a rope around Fritz because there was some concern that the horse might slip or slide deeper into the hole. Pomodoro recalls, “The rope fastened around Fritz stretched across the street and I remember there were somewhere between 15 to 20 people grabbing a hold of the rope to make sure Fritz stayed put. The compassion of perfect strangers was unbelievable.”

However, the challenge of extricating an almost 1500 pound horse from a hole would require something a whole lot stronger and more substantial than a rope fastened around the horse’s midsection. “We needed a crane,” said Pomodoro. And, as luck would have it, Shaugnessy & Ahearn, a local rigging company, had a crane job going on just around the corner. Said Pomodoro, “We went up the street and told them what was going on and the crane came down and pulled Fritz out.” Pomodoro continues, “My mother was so grateful, she sent a fruit basket to Mr. Shaugnessy, the owner of the company, thanking him for what they did for Fritz.”
These days, Pomodoro is a detective assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit. He’s got a few more years to go before he can retire and, although he’s certainly seen the best and the worst of people during his almost 30 year career, Pomodoro says nothing compares to the kindness and compassion he witnessed firsthand nearly 25 years ago. “I met a lot of really great people that day and, to this day, I have nothing but gratitude to those who came over to help Fritzie. I’ll never forget them.”

Ready to Battle the Bugs

There won’t be any flies on Charlie! He looks like a medieval war horse outfitted in his fly sheet and mask! We’ve had a lot of rain this spring which means beautiful green grass . . . but also lots of mosquitoes. Do you outfit your horses with flysheets?

Zenyatta gets a year off

 

Zenyatta grazes alongside her new filly. Photo by Kyle Acebo.
From Lane’s End Farm:

Zenyatta has given us three beautiful foals in three years. She excels at motherhood, a role she wholeheartedly enjoys.From the start, Zenyatta’s happiness and well-being has been our top priority. Following the birth of her perfect new filly, we have decided to honor her by giving her a year off from foaling. She will not be bred this year.

Zenyatta continues to be in good health and excellent condition. She will have time to rest, mentally and physically, and to enjoy being a horse in one of the most beautiful places in the country. We would like to thank the wonderful people at Lane’s End Farm for making all of this possible.

We’re so proud of our Queen!

-Team Z

P.S. Zenyatta may be taking a year off, but Zenyatta.com is not! We will be right here as your only official source for all things Zenyatta, Cozmic One, Ziconic, and 14Z.